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To remove dew claws or not to remove them? That is the question.

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I was having a discussion with a friend tonight. He asked what I thought about tail docking, since I brought up that my ex's rott still had her (full) tail.

I told him I thought that it was cruel and barbaric, just like declawing & ear cropping.



Then I thought about dew claws. When my dog was a puppy and we had her spayed, we were told by the vet and a few other people that since she's a sporting breed (black lab/springer spaniel mix,) does a lot of running, etc., that it's suggested she have her back dew claws removed, as its highly likely they'd catch on something while she was running/jumping and break. We had her dew claws removed.



I never thought about it again until just tonight. It seems so mean. They cut off the entire back "thumbs."



Will they really break if not surgically removed? Is the surgery a good idea to prevent future pain if breaking is highly likely?



What say you?







*We have a million threads on declawing already. Please just comment on the dew claws. I guess tail docking & ear cropping, too, if you'd like. But at least say something on the dew claw front, too.
post #2 of 30
I don't know all that much about dew claws, but from what I've heard, it is not always necessary to have them removed. Sometimes it's best to 'watch and wait' and see if they dew claw will cause a problem. Many times it does not. However, as you mentioned, there are some breeds that are definitely prone to injuries and these injuries can be very painful and cause infection. So, bottom line, it's a personal call. I don't think it is 'mean' necessarily to have them removed. Most of us love our pets and we try to do what's best for them. It would seem that having your dog's dew claws removed was done it her best interest.

As far as tail docking and ear cropping, if it's done solely for the purpose of 'looks' then I would probably consider it unnecessary.

The jury is still out on the declawing issue but I'm leaning towards 'don't do it'.
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Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid...~Albert Einstein~
"Nothing tastes as good as kindness feels" - ~ElaineV~
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post #3 of 30
I think it depends on the dog. Apparently some dogs have looser dew claws, which makes it easier for them to get caught in something and torn off. Obviously dogs don't have a use for them, and they don't miss them when they are gone.
post #4 of 30
I dont think the dew claw is something that they really miss, and it does look really painfull when they tear them.

On the other hand, the same arguments are used to justify docking sporting breeds --"what if the tail gets caught in brambles or barbed wire and it tugs and hurts." Given my views on hunting, I haven't seen sufficient sporting dogs in action to decide whether this really is an issue, but I can see how it could be. Course then I wonder whether my refusal to dock for cosmetic reasons (I think dogs with no tail trying to wag them look very odd) is more cruel than them docking for practical reasons.

I think my point is that if something seems to be in the best interests of the dog, and is advised by a vet then whilst it might not necessarily have been the absolute best option for that individual (although obviously as you cant try both you will never find out what would have been) it isnt cruel.
post #5 of 30
I think dewclaws are just hanging on by a flap on skin so not like declawing a cat but I don't know as long as you keep them trimmed so it can't catch on anything http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dew-claw.
post #6 of 30
My dog had her dewclaws claws removed. She probably would have torn hers by now with all the scrambling around she does.
post #7 of 30
My old landlord had a Jack Russell terrier who still had his dew claws. One day he was running in their yard and caught one of them on something and tore the dew claw almost completely off. I can tell you that the dog was definitely in pain and after it healed up they ended up having them removed. I'm not sure which would have been more painful to the dog (having them removed or the tear) but I do know I felt sorry for the dog. He yiped and yelped something fierce.
post #8 of 30
I've seen dogs with them on and they seemed fine. In Germany they don't remove them. Nor is tail or ear amputation allowed anymore.



I suppose it depends on where the dog is going to live and what sort of enviroment. If the dog is in an envrioment where the tearing danger will never be an issue ( I suspect most dogs fit in here), I see no reason to get this done.



I have a habit of saying, that's a nice dog...too bad about the amputated tail.



PS:I had a bad toe injury which made walking painful..doesn't that mean that people should have their big toes amputated at birth to avoid these injuries?.
post #9 of 30
I say wait and see. Why put an animal through a surgical procedure that they might not require. I had never heard of the whole dew-claw thing before, or ear cropping, I guess they don't happen in NZ. I'm obviously against docking anything unnecessarily.
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Brandon View Post

My old landlord had a Jack Russell terrier who still had his dew claws. One day he was running in their yard and caught one of them on something and tore the dew claw almost completely off. I can tell you that the dog was definitely in pain and after it healed up they ended up having them removed. I'm not sure which would have been more painful to the dog (having them removed or the tear) but I do know I felt sorry for the dog. He yiped and yelped something fierce.



From what I've read.. the sooner it's done the less it'll hurt.
post #11 of 30
Okay - I'm confused. All three of my dogs have five toenails in the front (four on the foot, one on the ankle), and four toenails on their back feet (none on the ankles). Did someone remove their back dew claws before I got them?
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post #12 of 30
yuck
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Why do dogs have dew-claws? Or what the heck ARE dew-claws?

Back to the ancestors again . . . 1000's of years ago we had 5 toes on each foot so that we could jump and climb to catch our prey. The dew-claws are up higher on the leg than our other toes and on the inside -- kind of like a thumb. Anyway, as we evolved and became faster runners, we really didn't need the extra toes, so they started disappearing. Today many dogs are born without rear dew-claws, but some breeds have all four present. Usually people have the rear ones surgically removed because they aren't attached as solidly as the front ones and they may get caught on something and rip. What really irks me is that many dog breeders think that dew-claws -- front and back -- are some kind of flaw that should be immediately removed so that we can look like YOUR idea of the perfect "breed standard". On the other hand, in a few breeds you have decided that we must KEEP our hind dew-claws in order to be perfect. Really people, would you just worry about more important issues!!



Luckily, I wasn't born with dew-claws on my back legs, and Mom says she has better things to do than having my front ones removed. By the way, since they're on the inside of the legs and above the ground, they're fairly unlikely to cause any problem . . . I kind of like mine. Do you think that it would matter to us how many toes (or other flaws) YOU have?

http://www.caninesolutionsaz.com/Ask...ve%20dew-claws
post #14 of 30
Apparently removing dewclaws is illegal in some countries too.

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post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppy View Post

Okay - I'm confused. All three of my dogs have five toenails in the front (four on the foot, one on the ankle), and four toenails on their back feet (none on the ankles). Did someone remove their back dew claws before I got them?

The majority of dogs are born with no dewclaws on their back legs.
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Brandon View Post

My old landlord had a Jack Russell terrier who still had his dew claws. One day he was running in their yard and caught one of them on something and tore the dew claw almost completely off. I can tell you that the dog was definitely in pain and after it healed up they ended up having them removed. I'm not sure which would have been more painful to the dog (having them removed or the tear) but I do know I felt sorry for the dog. He yiped and yelped something fierce.

Well if they're surgically removed the dog will be under anesthesia and pain medication. If they're ripped off while running, it's going to hurt quite a bit. The chances of getting caught on something and ripping completely off are very slim and depend on how the location and size of the dewclaws. My dogs all have their dewclaws. If my dogs were at high risk for an injury then I might have had them removed when they were neutered, however it's better to do it when they're a puppy than when they're adults.
post #17 of 30
I have 3 greyhounds and only one still has his dewclaws. He is my hyper one that loves to run! When he goes to the dog park he can run for hours and has never had a problem with them.
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by gas4 View Post

I say wait and see. Why put an animal through a surgical procedure that they might not require. I had never heard of the whole dew-claw thing before, or ear cropping, I guess they don't happen in NZ. I'm obviously against docking anything unnecessarily.



Well, I would remove them as a pup. I've seen some dogs come in with ripped dew claws and they are very unhappy campers. If your dog is an active breed and you know he/she is going to do a lot of running or even be rambunctous, I would remove them. It may seem barbaric, but I think its much less painful for them when under anesthesia and physician's care then when they just rip them off completely or partially at home. Also, quite often people will have them removed when the dogs are just puppies- I think only one or two days old. The idea here, I think, is that the claws and dew claws don't really "set up"- the vet I work for won't do it after 3 days without calling it an "amputation"- a major surgery with anesthesia. Its also much more expensive. Before the 3 days the dogs don't even seem to notice within 5 minutes. I hope it doesn't hurt them.
post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mslinzyann View Post

Well, I would remove them as a pup. I've seen some dogs come in with ripped dew claws and they are very unhappy campers. If your dog is an active breed and you know he/she is going to do a lot of running or even be rambunctous, I would remove them. It may seem barbaric, but I think its much less painful for them when under anesthesia and physician's care then when they just rip them off completely or partially at home. Also, quite often people will have them removed when the dogs are just puppies- I think only one or two days old. The idea here, I think, is that the claws and dew claws don't really "set up"- the vet I work for won't do it after 3 days without calling it an "amputation"- a major surgery with anesthesia. Its also much more expensive. Before the 3 days the dogs don't even seem to notice within 5 minutes. I hope it doesn't hurt them.



So when he does it when they're newborns, it's just like circumcision? They just cut? No numbing, no anesthesia, nothing, I assume; considering they're only a day or two old. :shiver:



My dog had her back dewclaws surgically removed at the same time she was under for spaying.
post #20 of 30
I think that putting a dog or cat to sleep under anesthetic to have an operation is more dangerous than like docking, removing dew claws, or cat claws. When you put the dog under for neutering (which is also cruel in a way) you should have everything done at once.
post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gita View Post

I think that putting a dog or cat to sleep under anesthetic to have an operation is more dangerous than like docking, removing dew claws, or cat claws. When you put the dog under for neutering (which is also cruel in a way) you should have everything done at once.



I never said I think it's dangerous. I don't think the surgeries are any more dangerous than any other surgeries. I think they're gross and inhumane (docking/cropping/declawing.) I was asking opinions on having dew claws removed.
post #22 of 30
Dew claws are fine left alone. You just need to trim them every so often just like you would their other nails.



ETA: I have a doberman mix. She has her tail and her ears are the way they were when she was born. She is the cutest thing you every seen!
post #23 of 30
I never knew they could catch on stuff until this thread. ;P My 3 year old Beagle has his still and he's an absolute maniac and gets into everything, and they've never got caught on anything.
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post #24 of 30
For most dogs, pets and those being shown, I don't think it's necessary and having it as part of the breed standard is stupid. For sporting dogs that are going to do field trials and such, there is a much higher chance of them being injured, so in those limited cases I think it's more helpful than harmful.
post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 
My dog never did field trials or anything, and we never planned for her to do anything like that. The vet, and the couple other people who mentioned it just said that because of her breeds that she should have them removed, as she would be very active when she grew up. It's been quite some years now, but we used to go up north and she did a lot of running in the woods. She has a big back yard and doggie doors to come and go as she pleases, but it's not like it's a jungle where she's leaping over logs and stuff. I dunno... I'm just wondering now if I'd have it done on future dogs. I highly doubt I'll ever have puppies unless I'm just fostering. I do plan on getting some rotts, but they won't be babies. Now I don't know if it's something I should have done as a preventative measure.
post #26 of 30
Yes, they do the dewclaw removal without anesthesia, like a circumcision. I'm not really sure what the pain level is or what principles vets operate under, but I would be glad to talk to the vets I work with about it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica Alana View Post

So when he does it when they're newborns, it's just like circumcision? They just cut? No numbing, no anesthesia, nothing, I assume; considering they're only a day or two old. :shiver:



My dog had her back dewclaws surgically removed at the same time she was under for spaying.
post #27 of 30
I really don't know much about it but I would say NOT to remove them.
post #28 of 30
From what I've read, it's recommended to have dewclaws removed on most breeds because they're not really used and the potential for having them ripped off is high. There are certain breeds of dog that still have working dew claws (that can be used for climbing, etc...), and for those breeds, removing the dew claw is not recommended.
post #29 of 30
I guess with some dogs dew-claw removal would be a good idea. I guess with some breeds even tail docking is a good idea (not that I'm keen on the idea). Weimeriners (sp?) are supposed to have tiny little rat tails at the end of their tail when it grows out. As I understand it they dock the tail because the dogs are forever breaking their tails because they are so active and the tails are so fragile. Not that I'm endorsing cosmetic amputation.



When we took our foster mom and puppies in to have them checked by the vet (we were out of state when she had the puppies and it wasn't our normal vet) the vet said "I know they're mixed breed but do you want to go ahead and dock their tails today?" I told her we don't want anything cosmetic done to these little babies. For some vets it just seems like "the thing to do" to do the cosmetic amputations. Kind of made me mad that she even asked since there is absolutely NO REASON to do that to these puppies. Sorry, rant....



Our Puppies (sorry, I must share them everywhere!):
post #30 of 30
I know a lot about dewclaws and I WOULD remove them- the accidents resulting if they are left are horrific.



I am, however, VERY against ear cropping, tail docking, and declawing of cats. I am also against neutering male dogs. I do spay females for health reasons (but I hate doing it!), and I do alter cats for population control and behavior and health reasons as cats are more difficult to separate in the same home than dogs- also, female cats are very prone to pyometra and male cats tend to spray. Neutering a male dog IMO is pointless as the health benefits do not come close to the benefits for spaying females, and if you cannot keep your dogs from breeding randomly then you're not qualified to own one.



*shrugs*
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